The Grapevine

Climate Change and Wine Production

November 24th, 2014

With hailstorms and flooding and earthquakes hitting major wine growing regions recently, it’s hard not to wonder about what impact climate change might have on the wine industry. [level-members]

There are vintners who are hedging their bets and buying property further north than typical wine growing regions. (Or, as in the case of this Australian grower, further south …)

Grape vines require just the right conditions to produce great wines. Not too hot, not too cold. Not to steady, either; they like a nice change from daytime to night-time temps. It’s not that the grapes won’t grow – though that is the case when things get too extreme – it’s that they don’t make great wine. Or even very good wine.

So in the future, today’s premier wine regions may be somewhat less preferred. (Though there is one train of thought that says in the future wine lovers will pay more and get drunker.)

So regional styles will change as the climate changes. And new regions may well become the center of the wine grape growing world. (Who would have guessed we’ll all be clamoring for those greath North Dakotan pinots in just a few years …)

Not everyone agrees on the reality of climate change, but there does seem to be enough science behind it to warrant some thought. Then again, it’s hardly happening overnight, so you may not want to do any one-for-one trades of your beloved Burgundies for any of those North Dakota Pinots any time soon.